Merrill Lynch Makes Big Changes to Top-Performing Growth Portfolio

Lee Jackson

This company should get a boost from an improving economy and the proposed infrastructure build. Flowserve, Corp. (NYSE: FLS) is a Texas-based supplier of pumps, valves, seals, automation and related services, primarily for the oil and gas, power and chemical industries. Flowserve operates under three segments: Engineered Products, Industrial Products and Flow Control.

The stock has stumbled some over its past few earnings reports, but the analysts note that bookings were strong as 2017 ended and the prospects look good for this year.

Investors receive a 1.74% dividend. Merrill Lynch has set its price target at $57. The consensus target is $45.69, and shares closed Friday at $45.74.


The search giant continues to expand and is even working on a driverless car now. Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOGL) is a global technology company focused on key areas, such as search, advertising, operating systems and platforms, enterprise and hardware products. It generates revenue primarily by delivering online advertising and by selling apps and contents on Google Play, as well as hardware products. The company provides its products and services in more than 100 languages and in 190 countries, regions and territories.

Alphabet offers performance and brand advertising services. It operates through Google and Other Bets segments. The Google segment includes principal internet products, such as Search, Ads, Commerce, Maps, YouTube, Apps, Cloud, Android, Chrome and Google Play, as well as technical infrastructure and newer efforts, such as virtual reality.

Some 63.4% of the managers said they own the stock, which has rolled over some since the most recently reported earnings.

The Merrill Lynch price target is $1,270. The consensus estimate is $1,275.12, and shares closed Friday at $1,051.


This Wall Street darling and FANG constituent could offer solid upside. Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the world’s leading internet television network, with more than 70 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 125 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.

Netflix is available on virtually any device with an internet connection, including personal computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs and game consoles, and it automatically provides the best possible streaming quality based on available bandwidth. Many titles, including Netflix original series and films, are available in high-definition with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound and some in Ultra HD 4K. Advanced recommendation technologies with up to five user profiles help members discover entertainment they’ll love.

The $347 Merrill Lynch price target compares with a consensus target of $333.12. Shares closed Friday at $320.08.


This stock has made a nice run off the lows, but it may hold solid upside for aggressive accounts. NRG Energy Inc. (NYSE: NRG) is an integrated independent power producer that owns and operates 27 gigawatts (GW) of conventional and renewable generating capacity in the United States and serves 3 million retail customers in Texas and the Northeast.

NRG derives revenue from the sale of electricity in the wholesale and retail markets and the sale of capacity. The company also owns a 64.5% interest in NRG Yield, a publicly traded, dividend growth-oriented company that owns 5 GW of long-term contracted renewable assets.

NRG investors receive a 0.36% dividend. Merrill Lynch has a $35 price target. The consensus target is $36.50, and shares closed Friday at $33.30.